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How long will concrete & steel last?


UPDATE: Now the international comission has completed its work and says that Suorvadammen meets “high international standards”:

Den internationella kommission som undersökt Sourvadammen under tre dagar, anser att Vattenfalls dammsäkerhetsarbete i Sourvadammen “hÃ¥ller högsta internationella standard”.
Det säger Vattenfall i ett pressmeddelande på torsdagen

If built by the Romans, 2000 years, if by the Moderns, much less. Left without repair and maintenance, much much less.

So what will happen to all of our fine infra, soon? The grid of electricity, roads, etc.?

Norrbottens Kuriren writes about the Suorva dam in Northern Sweden. (Pictures here). Fears over the security of the dam have been rised after problems in other dams in Sweden have been detected. And Suorva has leaked before:

Suorva har byggts på fel sätt. Berggrunden är inte bra och läcker som ett såll. 1983 ledde ett läckage till ett hål i berggrunden och en bit av dammen rasade. En jättespricka uppstod i dammväggen. Hade vattennivån varit högre, hade dammen rasat. En förbipasserande såg sprickan och larmade. Suorva, och hela älvdalen ner till Luleå räddades. Den gången.

These days the dam is monitored virtually from Stockholm and Vuollerim. Once a week somebody from the power company visits the site. In the summer there are tourists and locals passing to Sarek via the dam. Our car & tents have been parked several times just below the dam. But what about the fall, winter? The prediction is that in the case of a breakdown the city of Luleå would be underwater, and the whole river valley flushed, along with a number of major power plants. This could take out the grid in Sweden for quite some time:

Om dammen i Suorva rasar leder det till den värsta katastrofen i Sverige någonsin.
Flodvågen skulle spola bort allt liv längs Luleälven, Luleå skulle läggas under vatten och elförsörjningen i Sverige skulle behöva årtionden för att återhämta sig.

With the interdependence of the Nordic grid, the effects would be felt in whole Scandinavia.

And this is Sweden, one of the most carefully and consistently built modern places.

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